Category: 1960s

Memories of the 1960s: Issue VI – Shopping

My 1960s Memories has proved popular, so here is another: Shopping.

There is a permanent page for Memories of the 1960s here.

Shopping was confusing in the 1960s, even if you only had pocket money of one shilling to spend, as I did.

Threepenny Bit
Threepenny Bit

The old system of currency could be traced back to the Roman Empire and was based on the penny, symbolised by the letter ‘d’ for denari. Under this system, there were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings, or 240 pence, in a pound. Needless to say, for a kid whose mathematical skills were still developing, I needed one of my parents with me to shop for anything at all!

Continue reading “Memories of the 1960s: Issue VI – Shopping”

Competition to Win Free, Signed Paperback of Screaming Angels!

My new romantic spy novel Screaming Angels published!

To celebrate, I will be giving away one, signed copy  of Screaming Angels to my Newsletter readers in a competition on 16 October at 5pm BST. To sign up for the Newsletter before then, click here or go to the menu  at the top of this page.

Continue reading “Competition to Win Free, Signed Paperback of Screaming Angels!”

It’s Christmas: Nominate your Movie Turkey!

At the Earth's Core
At the Earth’s Core

It wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey and if indigestion hasn’t already set in, maybe there’s space for a bit more? What is your top nomination for movie Turkeys? It doesn’t have to be a Christmas movie but just one so bad that you either reach for the remote or fall asleep.

How to spot a Turkey Movie

Turkey movies can be hard to pick out: you often don’t remember their names or who’s in them. But of course if its a sequel or a remake it has a very good chance of being a Turkey! Some movies are so bad they are actually fun and good for a few laughs. These aren’t those movies.

Here are some of mine. Add yours, either by commenting or on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Breakthrough – 1979: This sequel to the iconic Cross of Iron had nothing to recommend it except Richard Burton so drunk he had to be carried onto the set every day.
  • The Hobbit Trilogy – 2012/13/14: Sorry if I just made you choke on your chockies or turkey but, as a lifelong fan of Tolkien books, I think this trilogy lacks the quaint charm of the original or the grandeur of Lord of the Rings. The director tried to stretch and I am afraid he broke it. I reserve opinion on the dragon one because so far I haven’t seen it! Virgin Media doesn’t have it and it seems to have escaped schedulers on TV although the others haven’t!
  • At the Earth’s Core – 1976: This beauty stars Doug McClure (remember Trampas from The Virginian?) and Peter Cushing. Its kind of like Journey to the Centre of the Earth but with props you can throw together from scrap at a film studio. The beasts (whose name escapes me!) are just people dressed up and the WORST SPECIAL EFFECT I have ever seen. Watch out for Cy Grant (who did the voice for Captain Scarlet), the lovely Caroline Munro and a young Keith Baron. Oh and in case you are wondering, the film is so bad its almost good, but Cushing’s bumbling professor is just too over the top to get this film off the hook. In some scenes you can almost see McClure thinking, “Are they actually going to release this?”
  • Alexander – 2004: Colin Farrel stars as Alexander the Great. I think he must have resented doing this film because he actually exaggerates his own Irish accent and the film just becomes absurd! Truly un-watchable.
  • The Man with the Iron Fists – 2012: I can only think they got Russell Crowe to do this by promising to make The Water Diviner. It has Asian orgies (including Crowe going down on a few girls!!!), martial arts, a kind of Iron Man think going and just about everything else. I stuck with it but it was clear it was just a vehicle for the rapper who starred in it. Set in the mid 19th Century??? possibly??? when the baddies came on wearing Ray Bans I was shouting at the screen “Nooooooo!”
  • Babylon A.D. – 2008: Well, what can I say except that I fell asleep after half an hour. I wouldn’t include it but for the fact I woke half hour before the end and the end was as bad as the beginning. Just boring!
  • Reunion in France – 1942: This monstrosity stars John Wayne as US pilot shot down over France and trying to escape with the help of a bourgeois woman. Forgetting that Wayne was far too old to play a front line pilot by then (and probably too tall!), he doesn’t bother to act, the sets are probably cardboard and the plot would be more appropriate in an Abbott and Costello film! Why on earth Wayne’s characters have to give the lead female a male nickname I dunno, but it kind of makes me queasy in this case (Michelle becomes Mike!).
  • Living Free – 1972: This sequel to Born Free probably ended up in the bins of cinemas faster than any other movie in that decade. Watch it if you dare!
  • The Silver Chalice – 1954: Paul Newman’s first starring role. If you can get beyond the first ten minutes, please call us or a doctor; you need medical attention.
  • The Secret Invasion – 1954: I wish I could say this was Stewart Grainger’s last movie. That would at least offer him some excuse but it wasn’t. If you wanted to make a war movie on the tightest budget possible, this would be one way. The only props are a few sub-machine guns. Dire! Dire! Dire!
  • The Battle of the Last Panzer – 1969: My third war movie looks promising but isn’t.

There are apparently some William Shatner films, made in Europe in the early 70s, that are so bad they will never see the like of day. If anybody has seen one, let me know!

Hope this didn’t give you indigestion! Let me have your nominations by commenting. Nominations end 3 January. Then we vote!

Memories of the 1960s: Issue V – Music

There is a permanent page for Memories of the 1960s here.

The Small Faces
The Small Faces

In many ways this is the hardest post I have made about the 1960s and it has taken me a long time to decide to make it. Many writers have tried and failed to capture the magic and disillusionment of 60s music and I most surely must fail too. But that won’t stop me ‘taking a shot’ at it, as Americans like to say, or ‘having a ago’ as Brits like to say.

I am not just talking about something in remote history when I talk about music from that era; I actually remember music of the 1960s. The first song I remember is Puppet on a String, which of course won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest (yes, we had it then too!) for Sandie Shaw. I would have been 5 but I well remember the catchy tune blasting out of BBC Radio 1 on our little, blue radio set in the kitchen, or in my bedroom when I was sick, which was often.

I also remember Windmill in Old Amsterdam (There was a mouse! Where? There on the Stair!) by Ronnie Hilton. This was a hit in 1965 so I may not actually remember hearing the original recording on the radio but my mum sang it to me a lot. I think she was trying to teach me to sing.

The first Beatles song I remember is Yellow Submarine; a hit in 1969. Somebody played it at my school during a break and almost all the children danced spontaneously to it in the playground. The strange thing is that we thought this song must have been ancient; around since the beginning of time. We put it in the same bracket as hymns, nursery rhymes and folk songs, something that people had sung since the dawn of time. I laugh now to think this but we also put Cat Stevens’ Morning has Broken in the same category, classing it as a hymn, would you believe?

I was often ill in my childhood so stuck at home and my mum would always put the radio by my bed at these times to keep me company. I listen to a lot of contemporary music, usually on Radio 1. Now you might think that listening to the radio would bring me a cornucopia of psychedelic songs from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Mamas and the Papas and so on. But you would be wrong.

First of all, Radio 1 was pretty conservative in what they broadcast and the mornings were usually divided up between Jimmy Young and Jimmy Saville. They played The Beatles, but stuck to the more traditional songs like Yesterday, Yellow Submarine, Help! and a few other of the older hits like From me To You. I don’t remember hearing any Rolling Stone except perhaps Satisfaction later in the 60s.

Radio 1 DJ Emperor Rosko
Radio 1 DJ Emperor Rosko

And I didn’t have access to Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station broadcast from a former light ship, moored in the English Channel and manned by such luminary figures as Emperor Rosko, Kenny Everett and Tony Blackburn.

In fact, I don’t think I could even get Radio Luxembourg in the Chiltern Hills, where we lived. Even some TV programmes would phase out in poor weather conditions. Twiddle as I might with the tuning knob on the radio, I remained stuck with Radio 1, 2 and 4, a few French stations and possibly the occasional bit of static from Germany and Russia.

But what I did get was a wealth of what I would call medium level Brit bands like The Small Faces, Steampacket (featuring a very young Rod Stewart), Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (Bend It was played a lot on Radio One), Mary Hopkin. I was also subjected to a welter of novelty records by people like Max Bygraves, Benny Hill, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and Peter Sellers, but the less said about them the better! Incidentally, the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the name of the main character in my book, The Ice Boat, among the list of acts above.

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

These bands were unashamedly British and flaunted it, often regressing into a kind of Cockney utopian vision as their careers progressed. This may have been in imitation of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, which was a paean to Englishness if ever there was one. But while Sergeant Pepper sounded almost triumphant, combining as it did Englishness with a hunger for a global culture, other bands would find this road harder and end up becoming more inward looking.

A good example is The Small Faces, hence my choice of image for the head of this post. Itchycoo Park was catchy and the writers even now claim they attempted some kind of commentary on the extreme trajectory of hippy culture with it. This drug-fueled culture pervaded everything in England at the time; even my father, who was a conservative voter, wore flared trousers. So you would have thought this song would be refreshing. It was certainly catchy and I remember it being only second to I’d like to Teach the World To Sing for the frequency with which it was played.

But the problem was that the producers of the record had gone for a ‘light’ feel. It sounded so upbeat that you couldn’t possibly see it as anything other than a catchy ditty. The Small FacesLazy Sunday was even worse, featuring the feigned Cockney accent which Steve Marriot began to use so heavily. I’m sorry to say that many lead singers in the 1960s used the Cockney accent to show how British they were. It probably wasn’t their fault; few bands would have had as much control over their music as the Beatles and most would have been forced to go for the common denominator, which turned out to be light, breezy songs which neither threatened or challenged anyone. Later the Cockney accent would be used by Bowie to better effect but that’s another story.

The Small Faces's album cover for Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake
The Small Faces’s album cover for Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake

The Small Faces album really entered the realm of mystical Englishness with their album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. Take a look at the cover opposite!

It’s almost as if they are trying to contact, through the medium of music, some spirit of bygone Englishness. And you find a lot of bands doing this. Whether they were pining for better days – going through some valedictory last hoorah! – I don’t know but things certainly seemed to implode. There was no widespread embracing of different cultures from abroad, no quest for the global village. This came only from The Beatles and a a few other very select bands. Instead, on Radio 1, which I guess most people were forced to listen to, just like me, we had a headlong dive back to essential, conservative Englishness which led us into the more insular and sombre 70s.

So what did we have at the peak of the 60s explosion of music? Well forget Hendrix! I didn’t even know about his existence until I was in my late teens, and my dad listened to Santana, Osibisa and Gong in the late 60s, so he was no slouch in musical taste! No, even he hadn’t heard of Jimi Hendrix. Instead we had a paper-thin serving of art in our music. It was almost like a papier mâché utopia, a cardboard Heaven that could be cut through by the pre-pubescent mind of any 5-year old. Indeed, as a 5 year old in 1967, I often felt the music was too childish for me! I tended to seek out classical music quite often as a respite – yes I even turned the dial surreptitiously to Radio 4.

In short, what most of us were subjected to, day in, day out, in the music on Radio 1 was a kind of artistic, cardboard world. I wouldn’t call it a mediocre world, for that word would be too harsh. But it certainly was one that could be knocked down or seen through by any over-curious child, or could be dissembled just as easily and reassembled somewhere else on Earth where it might be wanted. But it never was.

What are your memories of the 1960s? Leave a comment below.

Download three free eBooks by clicking here: http://bit.ly/3fbsup

Poll: Which is the best Scifi Vehicle Ever?

Elevator vehicle under Fireflash from Thunderbirds
Elevator vehicle under Fireflash from Thunderbirds

Another great vote this week; which is the best scifi vehicle of all time?

The choice is HUGE but below are just a few suggestions to get you started. Please nominate your favourites by commenting here or tweet me @Lazlo_F or message me on Facebook. The nomination deadline will be 22 June at 5pm. Then we will vote!

Ein weiterer großer Stimme in dieser Woche; Welches ist das beste SciFi Fahrzeug aller Zeiten?

Die Auswahl ist riesig Gewinn Hier sind nur ein paar Vorschläge, um Ihnen den Einstieg. Bitte benennen Sie Ihre Favoriten von hier zu kommentieren oder tweet ich Lazlo_F gold Nachricht auf mich Facebook. Der Nominierungsfrist wird am 22. Juni 17.00 Uhr sein. Dann werden wir abstimmen!

Un autre grand vote cette semaine; qui est le meilleur véhicule de scifi de tous les temps?

Le choix est énorme, mais ci-dessous sont quelques suggestions pour vous aider à démarrer. S’il vous plaît nommer vos favoris en commentant ici ou tweet moi Lazlo_F ou un message moi sur Facebook. La date limite de mise en candidature sera de 22 Juin à 17 heures. Ensuite, nous allons voter!

もう一つの大きな票今週。これはすべての時間の中で最高のscifi車である。

選択は巨大ですが、以下の作業を始めるためのちょうどいくつかの提案です。ここにコメントすることによってあなたのお気に入りを指名するか、上で私 Lazlo_Fコードまたはメッセージを私にツイートしてください。 Facebook のコード。指名締め切りは午後5時で6月22日になります。その後、我々は投票する!

एक अन्य महान वोट इस सप्ताह; जो सभी समय का सबसे अच्छा scifi वाहन है।

विकल्प बहुत बड़ा है, लेकिन नीचे तुम शुरू कर बस कुछ सुझाव हैं। Lazlo_F यहाँ टिप्पणी करके अपने पसंदीदा में मनोनीत या मुझे ट्वीट करें। या संदेश मुझ पर Facebook

Elevator Vehicles from Thunderbirds

The SPV from Captain Scarlet

The Star Ship Enterprise

The X-Wing Starfighter from Star Wars

Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced x1

Landmaster from Damnation Alley (crap film but good vehicle)

Discovery One from 2001: Space Odyssey

The Eagle Transporter from space 1999

Arguably not a vehicle but still cool – the Power Loader from Aliens

The Tom Cruise Audi from Minority Report (this is a view from the front)

The Lawmaster MC01 Y349 – 221 from Dredd

1966 Batmobile (this one gets my pulse going)

1989 Batmobile

The Tumbler from Bat Man

Thunderbirds 2 from Thunderbirds

The Mole from Thunderbirds

I could go on all day but now it’s over to you. Nominate your favourite!

Competition: Can you name the 1960s toy?

To tie in with my recent series on Memories of the 1960s, I am running a competition. It won’t be easy but then my books are worth it! Name all five of the following correctly and win a free eBook of any of my published novels. Entries close at midnight GMT Sunday, 5 October 2014. Please comment with your entry to claim your prize!  There is a bonus object to win 2 eBooks!

1.

toy 1
toy 1

 

 

(car manufacturer and type)

 

 

 

2.

toy 1
toy 1

 

 

(car manufacturer and type)

 

 

3.

toy 3
toy 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

toy 4
toy 4

 

 

(car manufacturer and type)

 

 

 

 

 

5.

toy 5
toy 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: For all toy cars, I don’t want the toy manufacturer but only the manufacturer and type of the real car.

 

 

BONUS!

If you can name this gem (not actually a toy but close) as well, you win 2 eBooks!

 

item 6
item 6

Profits from eBooks! and: Memories of the 1960s: Issue V – School

This week: Profits from eBooks! and: Memories of the 1960s: Issue V – School

Memories of the 1960s: Issue V – School

Typical 1960s English school buildings
Typical 1960s English school buildings

Prepare to have all the myths of how school was Heaven in the 60s blasted away and for myths that it was Hell to be destroyed. This is what it was like for me.

I spent my school years, until the age of fourteen, in Buckinghamshire. Now, I am not saying the true-blue ultra-conservative Buckinghhamshire is backward but the last time I looked at the council’s website it had chains running down each side! That was back in the 90s. In the 60s, they were just about as blue as you can get and they certainly believed in giving every child’s sanity a run for its money.

The Bucks model of education was simple: your kid had to pass their eleven-plus exam to get a proper education. Anything else was failure and rewarded with being sent to a ‘secondary-modern,’ which in Bucks meant a school for dunces. There you would never get the chance to do O’Levels or A’Levels and you would certainly never go to University. So every day of your school life, you were having the message ‘Success is everything’ rammed down your throat. Unfortunately, the flip-side of this philosophy was the message that ‘humanity is nothing.’ It was only many years later that we would all discover Hans Eysenick’s IQ based formula for the eleven-plus exam was all based on fake research.

My first memory is of the first day. I was five. I somehow managed to annoy the teachers, Mrs Barnes and Mrs Farrow, and was made to stand in the corner. My reputation as a trouble-maker seemed to grow from there. But in general, being made to sit next to girls and getting to play in the sun for hours couldn’t have seemed too bad in 1967. I actually remember many of us dancing to Yellow Submarine in the playground, a year later. We thought the song was a traditional song!

The School Day

Our day would begin with assembly, basically a church meeting complete with prayers and hymns, followed by our first lesson, a break of 15 minutes and another lesson until lunch at 12 noon. At 1 pm, later extended to 1.15 pm, we would have another lesson, then another break at 2 pm, followed by the last lesson and then home at 3 pm.

Sport

Sports Day
Sports Day

Once or twice per week, a whole morning or afternoon would be give over to sports. We had to play in any weather and in fact, we had to spend every break-time outside, even in the direst thunderstorm or the worst snow. Nobody questioned this. Undoubtedly the weirdest ‘sports’ experience I had was when we were split into pairs of a boy and girl and told to slap each other’s legs as hard as we could. I was lucky enough to be paired with Shirley, who was to become the love of my life after this! She had dark, curly hair, darting, intelligent eyes and the looks of a Thomas Hardy heroine although she said she had gypsy blood. I learned that she had strong legs too after slapping them for ten minutes. Why the Bucks education system considered this an acceptable game, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps they thought a bit of S&M would teach women their places. Anyway, Shirley, if you are out there, sorry I was so good at slapping your legs.

Class sizes

With the baby-boom in full swing, class sizes rose to 58, in the case of mine. It was a scandal that was reported in the papers and parents protested. But there was nothing to be done. Nothing, that is, except get the children to teach. Yes! I’m not lying. As the best reader in my class, I was given my own remedial reading class which I took under the stairs near the entrance to the main block. It was a challenge because most of my small class of perhaps 8 readers had dyslexia. I can’t remember if I managed to improve their reading. I just knew they had a problem. It was only two years later, that one of those pupils, by this time a friend, was diagnosed with dyslexia.

School Dinners

School Dinners
School Dinners

Time to dish the dirty: school dinners in Bucks were crap! In fact, not only crap, but most of the time, inedible. All would be served in stainless steel containers, even the water, which was our only drink. The steel gave everything a certain ‘tang.’ I particularly hated the pilchards which were pickled in vinegar and tomato sauce. I hate vinegar anyway, it makes me sick, and the tomatoes used were so stewed that you couldn’t tell what they were any more. I used to hide my pilchards under the scoop of Smash (commercial mash potato which tasted like cotton wool). But then, Mrs Parks, the most evil teacher in the school, wised up to my technique and forced me to eat it while she held my spoon-hand firmly. I warned her:
“I will be sick on you if you make me eat this.”
She ignored me and, consequently, I vomited all over her skirt.
Besides the teachers, local women came in for lunchtime to watch over us, while the heads of each table, usually two children from the senior year, would serve the food frim the metal containers. We called them ‘Serving Ladies,’ one being Mrs. Rance.
Other odd dishes were: the strawberry blancmange which tasted of lipstick and stuck to the plate if you turned it upside down; swede; parsnips and jam pudding. All were prepared so badly that they put me off such food forever.
The only dishes I liked were: fried cod; semolina and chocolate sauce; chocolate sponge cake and shortcake biscuits with dollops of strawberry jam on top. In fact, a friend and I tried to eat as many portions of fried cod as we could and made ourselves sick this way!

Here are the 10 school dinner combinations I can remember:

Main Course:

Roast lamb with mint sauce, carrots and peas, boiled potatoes
Roast beef (and Yorkshire pudding – Yum), gravy, roasted potatoes
Toad in the hole (sausages in battered pudding), roasted potatoes, turnips
Battered cod fish (this was ok), chips, peas or carrots
Pilchards in vinegar with turnips, synthetic mashed potatoes (yuch!)
Kippers with swede, rice
Sausages with baked beans, synthetic mashed potatoes
Scrambled egg with baked beans, synthetic mashed potatoes
Liver with boiled potatoes, carrots or peas
Fishcakes or fish fingers with synthetic mashed potato and peas or carrots

Pudding:

Yellow blancmange (lemon)
Pink blancmange (raspberry)
Spotted dick (sponge with currants)
Shortbread biscuits with jam
Jam doughnuts
Semolina with chocolate sauce
Tapioca with jam
Rice pudding with jam
Chocolate sponge pudding (hot) with hot chocolate sauce

Slade - Merry Christmas Everybody
Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody

A special mention has to go out here to Douglas McKelvie, the head teacher, and the best teacher, of the school. I had him in my last year and hated him at first. He had the habit of running across the desk tops or flicking chalk at you, if you talked. He would often sit a boy next to a girl just to see what happened. In fact, even though I was desperate to sit next to Shirley, he put me next to Alison, a pretty blonde. The strange thing was that a few months later, my sister and I were sent to stay at the Alison’s house for the week before Christmas. To the eternal anthem of Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody (video) I tried to puzzle out what was going on. There were many things I didn’t understand about the Buckinghamshire education system; why did they line us all up from time to time and inject us with strange things called ‘typhoid jabs’ or run eye tests that showed us we had deficient vision and then try to force us to wear thick lenses which clearly (pun intended) made things worse? Why did they get boys to slap girls’ legs? But most of all, I wanted to know why the parents and school seemed to be in league, matchmaking, or indeed match-breaking, pupils?

In the autumn of 1974, it all came crashing to a ugly, heartbreaking halt for me. They had wanted to know my IQ for so long that I thought it might be some kind of biological substance inside me. Was I toxic? Every few weeks, we were given these strange tests called ‘mocks’. And then, without warning, I came to school one day and found the classroom desks equipped with a pencil, eraser and a stapled examination paper. It was the eleven-plus exam. There were three papers, the last in February or March. I did well at the first two and I had no reason to worry; I had scored 86% in the last mock exam. But late in the spring, the awful ‘results day’ came.
Buckinghamshire Council didn’t mess about. Douglas McKelvie called out each of our names and we went to the front of the class to collect our white envelope. If it was fat, you had passed but if it was thin, you were going to a secondary modern. Mine was thin.

Whether you liked it or not, within minutes, everyone knew everyone else’s results. Shirley has passed and would go on to Dr. Challoners High School for girls, the best school in the area. But worse than this, my friend, who had passed, and I had a fight. I don’t know for certain what it was about; my memory is that he teased me about failing and I insulted him back, calling him fat. That may be wrong. In any case, we ended up, that very day, on the playground tarmac, fighting it out. It was dirty and no-holds-barred. It was my first fight and I won. That I do remember clearly.

Was that the last time I saw Shirley? Actually, no. I cried for days at my own failure. Never has failure been driven home so absolutely as it was in Buckinghamshire. I lost most of my friends that day and I lost most of my hopes and dreams. Later, I would be saved when my parents moved to a different, more progressive county. Before the end of term, another girl organised a birthday for the summer holidays. I wasn’t invited. But I lobbied hard and managed to get in. It was a ‘Tramps’ party, in which you had to dress up as a – tramp. Who should be there but Shirley. My little autograph book had been all round the class on the last day of term and had every signature, except hers because she had been on holiday with her friends. Now was my chance to steal something! We played spin-the-bottle, a kissing game, and a kiss from Shirley would certainly be something worth stealing. Now, I have to mention here that Shirley had always been nice to me, she had taught me Origami under the stairs, but I had never had the guts to tell her how I felt, so I couldn’t call her my sweetheart. I had certainly never kissed her. But I was hopeful. In the end, the kissing gods were not on my side and I didn’t get the chance to kiss her. I didn’t even have the guts to ask her for a dance. I might well have said to myself:
“Welcome to the real world!”

What are your memories of the 1960s? Leave a comment below.

Download three free eBooks by clicking here: http://bit.ly/3fbsup
Profits from eBooks!

Finally, I have made a profit from a promotional campaign to promote one of my eBooks, Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate. We’re not talking big figures here, in fact, well less than $100. Nevertheless, It has taken me over a year to find something that works. From what other writers are telling me, it’s getting harder and harder to rake in the cash for eBooks. But I managed to beat the odds, at least once. Read on for how I did it:

I have tried marketing using twitter, Facebook paid adverts and google’s AdSense. For free downloads, Facebook’s adverts worked best but you are looking at upwards of $40 to get a couple of thousand downloads if you’re lucky. Of course, there is no money in that!

I have tried for almost a year (since hearing about them) to get on Bookbub and E Reader News Today (ENT) . I am still trying to get accepted for Bookbub, which costs at least $110, depending on genre, but have so far have been unsuccessful. I finally managed to get on ENT about a month ago and, what is more, they scheduled me for 5th July, a day after American Independence Day. I was delighted. But I wasn’t convinced it would draw any sales. Consequently, I signed up for (initially) 1 day of tweets from The Book Tweeting service. This was to be on the 4th July, just to get things going. It wouldn’t help the other sales but it’s always good to coordinate these things to get the highest rank possible. High Rank = More Sales.

By Saturday 5th July, I had seen no sales at all from hundreds of tweet to over 100,000 potential customers. I cancelled the second day of tweets although I must say, the staff were very friendly and helpful and did their best.

However, by midnight of the Saturday, I had already seen 8 solid sales from the E Reader News Today service. It works! I was delighted and will try them again, if they will have me.

Bargain book and Memories of the 1960s: Issue IV – Shopping

There is a permanent page for Memories of the 1960s here.

First of all, a heads up that Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate will be reduced to 99 cents from 4-8 July on Amazon. Please note, this is a Countdown deal so the price will gradually rise back up to $3.08 over a couple of days. Grab your copy while it is cheap!

Memories of the 1960s: Issue IV – Shopping

Shopping was confusing in the 1960s, even if you only had pocket money of one shilling to spend, as I did.

Threepenny Bit
Threepenny Bit

The old system of currency could be traced back to the Roman Empire and was based on the penny, symbolised by the letter ‘d’ for denari. Under this system, there were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings, or 240 pence, in a pound. Needless to say, for a kid whose mathematical skills were still developing, I needed one of my parents with me to shop for anything at all!

Of course, things were much cheaper then. Most things for kids, such as singe records (45 rpm), toy cars and dollhouse items were much than one pound, so I could save up for a toy car roughly once every ten weeks.

We lived in a small town of about 20,000 people. We didn’t have a supermarket, so general shopping was a nightmare! The nearest was Sainsbury’s in another town, but my mum only occasionally went there for fresh fish, which was almost all it served. It looked more like a butcher shop or a pie shop, with white, marble slabs for meat and fish, green, decorative tiles near the ceiling and a white, decorative plaster-work ceiling. In our town, there was a huge, central car park, which was always packed, so my mum would often drive around the one-way system several times waiting to get in. From here, it was a systematic shop up and down the High Street, going to the British Gas showroom to pay the gas bill (which, I might add, was often the only warm shop in the Chiltern Hills harsh winters), then to shops for smaller items like magazines, books, shoes, clothes or – if you were lucky – toys. Sometimes you would go back to the car with the bags of shopping before visiting the food shops, because there was just so much to carry!

Food shops were butchers, bakers, delicatessens (for milk and dairy products), green grocers (for fruit, vegetables, spices, cereals and specialities) and, if you were lucky, sweet shops. By the time you had done all this, you were exhausted!

Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope
Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope

Shoe shopping was particularly interesting in the 1960s, which was just as well as I didn’t like getting new shoes; they were always too narrow for my feet and hurt for the first few weeks of wearing. There were these strange machines in the shops that reminded me of the Dr Who Tardis. You stood on a platform and the machine X-Rayed your feet to find exactly the right fitting for you. So basically we were subjecting ourselves to dangerous radiation just for a shoe-fitting, although we didn’t realise the danger at the time! The machines, I only found out recently, were called Shoe Fitting Fluoroscopes.

Although not strictly shopping, visits to the library were frequent, because books were expensive and beyond the budget of most kids. Even for a town of 20,000 people our library was only about the size of an average shop and very poorly stocked. In about 1969 we finally got the library we deserved in a large, modern and airy new building. It took a while for the shelves to be filled, but soon I was able to hunt down speciality books on all sorts of fields within WWII, which was my great interest at the time.

Woolworths in the 1960s
Woolworths in the 1960s

Even the least persuasive child could usually engineer a visit to Woolworths and Co. Woolies, as we affectionately called it, stocked just about everything, but most importantly, it had toys, records and sweets. 7 inch 45 rpm records were for single tracks, an A-side and B-side, the A-side being the hit single for say, the Beatles. A 45 rpm would be 9 shillings and 11 pence, the equivalent of 49p in decimalised currency. A 12 inch Long Playing record (or LP) was usually 19 shillings and six pence, the equivalent of 99p. My first LP was Geoff Love’s Big War Movie themes, which I still have.

If my mum wanted fresh bread, I would have to walk about a mile down an extremely steep hill to Darvell & Sons bakery. There I would wait for a hot, new, white loaf from the oven, which a girl or woman in a white coat would put in a paper bag for me. Unfortunately, the fragrance of fresh bread always proved too much for me, so by the time I had struggled all the way back up the hill, I would have picked a large hole out of the bottom of the loaf, hoping my mum wouldn’t notice!

There was very little frozen food in the 1960s. The only one I can remember was fish fingers. My evening meal was almost always either fish fingers, sausages or cold chicken, mashed potato or chips, and either peas, baked beans or fried eggs, all usually served with a slice of bread and butter and a glass of milk.

The toy shop was, of course, an Aladdin’s Cave of wonders! Ours, Litten’s Toys, was wonderfully furnished with wood-panelled walls and wooden cabinets. On the right hand side were all the items a girl could want, toy prams, bicycles, dolls, dolls houses etc., while on the left were bicycles for boys, models and a whole load of toy cars, all displayed in glass cases. Behind the serving counter, along the back wall, was a long cabinet, stacked to the roof with Dinky Toys, Corgi, and Matchbox boxes, all brightly coloured and begging to be bought! I remember the proprietor being a jovial guy, who never minded taking time to help you choose your purchase.

A special occasion would be a trip to Trewins in Watford. Trewins was a department store which had an even wider range of toys than Woolworths. My mum bought me a plastic toy friction-drive de Havilland Comet, which you could drag across the floor to wind up the clockwork drive and then release to let it run across the carpet on its own. These must have been the most popular present in Trewins that Christmas, because there was a whole table stacked with them. Later, my mum bought me a cattle truck, made by Budgie and still later, I bought a Corgi Ford Mercury Station Wagon.

A very special occasion, once every year, was a trip on the Underground train to Hamleys in London’s Regent Street. Hamleys proclaims itself the ‘Finest Toy Shop in the World and at about 7 floors over 2 buildings, it was a child’s dream. I reckon the ‘lost kids department’ (I kid you not, it existed) must have been very busy, because kids were always becoming separated from my parents. A Hornby train set ran right around one floor, but my favourite was a radio-controlled North American B-25 Mitchell that hung, motionless, from the ceiling. Every year I would look longingly at this beautiful, silver angel of the air, and wonder how I could get one. I am sure this is what led to my future hobby of first control-line model aircraft and later, radio-control.

Green Shield Stamps
Green Shield Stamps

If you had survived all this shopping, there was the long struggle back to the car – there were no shopping trolleys then – and the drive home. But this wasn’t always the end. There was often the stop at an Esso or Shell garage, where my mum would get Green Shield stamps in return for a certain amount of petrol. My mum would stick them in Green Shield Saver Books (or get me to do it, with a lot of licking) and collect them to exchange for things from the Green Shield Catalogue.

There were also coins and cards you could get with petrol, such as the Shell coins representing vintage cars, a collection I completed, and the Shell holographic World Wildlife cards, a set which I collected but never completed.

Shell Word Wildlife holographic cards
Shell Word Wildlife holographic cards

There is one last memory of pocket money that I want to mention. It may have been around 1970 that I first saw something entirely new in a small toy shop in a nearby town; a Tamiya kit of the Chieftain tank. Until then, model tanks, especially ones which were motorised, were not to scale and mostly pretty crude representations of the real thing. I was lucky in that my granddad was an experienced engineer and expert modeller, so he built me a Centurion tank, which was motorised. It ran for a few years, under constant repair, until either the motor of the drive wore out. I had long since lost it by 1970. But the Chieftain was not only a detailed scale model, but it could be motorised and even radio-controlled! I had to have one! I saved and saved, but it was £7.49, which was a lot of money for a child then. Tamiya was a Japanese company and this was the first of their models I had seen in the UK, so there was no alternative but to seek some kind of part-time work. I was lucky again here; my mother was a magazine editor, so she offered me work collating the magazine by hand. It was hard work but after about 13 weeks, I had enough money. I went to the shop with every last penny I had and guess what? The kit’s price had gone up to £7.99. Well, I was devastated, and exhausted. I must have decided something cheaper would be less work, because I never did buy the Tamiya Chieftain tank.

Decimalisation Day pack (this without 50p coin)
Decimalisation Day pack (this without 50p coin)

In about 1968, decimalisation was announced. This would make life much easier! Now, there would be 100 pennies to the pound and no more shillings. There would be a new 50 pence piece and no ha’penny bits, threepenny bits or farthings (which was worth 1/4 penny in old money). The old ‘d’ would be replaced with the ‘p.’ We were all excited with anticipation of the new world and had daily lessons at school using toy cash registers. On TV there were programmes about decimalisation almost every day, and when the day finally came in 1971, every child in the UK was issued with a small wallet, containing a mint example of each new coin. I think complete ones must be very rare now, because every kid I knew spent the lot within weeks; after all a pound was 2 weeks’ pocket money in those days!

What toys did you have in the 1960s? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Download three free eBooks by clicking here: http://bit.ly/3fbsup

Daniel Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon, has died.

New York Times – “Daniel Keyes, the author of “Flowers for Algernon,” the story of a man with an I.Q. of 68 who temporarily becomes a genius after surgery — a book that inspired the film “Charly,” starring Cliff Robertson — died on Sunday at his home in South Florida. He was 86.”

Read the full New York Times article.

I did a brief interview with Cliff, which you can read it on this blog. Stephen C Thompson, Cliff Robertson’s Press Agent, is making a documentary about the Academy Award winner’s life and the documentary will certainly discuss the film Charly. If you want to get involved in the film’s production hop over to the project ‘s Facebook page and give it a like!.

I reviewed both the novel Flowers for Algernon and the movie Charly on my blog in 2010.

Memories of the 1960s: Issue III – Toys. What are your memories?

There is a permanent page for Memories of the 1960s here.

Memories of the 1960s: Issue III – Toys

Corgi Toys Buick Riviera
Corgi Toys Buick Riviera

I was born in 1962. The first toys I remember are a fluffy ball with a bell inside, a red, plastic American train and a ‘musical box’, about the size of a food can, with a crank on top. As you turned the crank, metal tongues were flicked inside, much like an African lamellaphone. It had pictures of the royal guards and Buckingham Palace painted on its sides. I don’t remember what the tune was. I also had a Playcraft plastic train set (see below). All these toys seemed to be around since a time before I could remember anything clearly.

Playcraft Train Set
Playcraft Train Set

The first toy I remember actually receiving was a motorised tank. My dad came home late one night (it was always late when he came home for a kid that was at nursery school!) and presented me with this thing that drove up and down a pile of books on its own! My dad showed me how to open a book and turn it upside down so that its spine formed the ridge of a hill. The tank could go over this too.

Then there was Lego. I had quite a small set of Lego, about enough pieces to fill a large biscuit-tin. But this included an electric motor! I seem to remember I broke the motor quite quickly but not before making a tank or two of my own. I usually made dragsters, biplanes, lorries, artillery guns and steam trains. I also had a car garage with a roll-over roof but I broke this quite quickly too.

My main love at an early age was toy cars. I quickly started to accumulate a large collection (eventually 240 vehicles) of Corgi, Matchbox, Matchbox Kingsize, Dinky Toys cars and trucks. I had bad luck with a Batmobile, a double-deck car transporter and a baby-blue Buick Riviera. After I had the Batmobile for only a few days, a rocket got stuck in the car’s insides. In those days, cars were all metal and riveted together. Repairing them was hard and, because of its complexity, repairing the Batmobile was almost impossible. My dad was an engineer so he took it apart and I had great hopes of him fixing it but he couldn’t reassemble it. The bits sat on a plate, on my window sill, for many years before I finally threw them away. The transporter’s tail gate/ramp broke. I wrote to Corgi many times, begging them for a replacement, but they never replied. The Buick disappeared mysteriously. I remember being asked if I wanted to swap it for something in his collection by the boy in the houser opposite. I refused. A few weeks later, the car went missing. I tore my bedroom and the house apart, hunting for it. I never found it. Even now, I suspect my sister. I don’t think it was the boy opposite.

Swapping was a very common way to accumulate cars then. I had a Bedford flatbed which I obtained that way. I was very lucky to have some rare items in my collection. From my dad, I inherited some old Grand Prix cars of the 1950s. These are worth a lot of money now. They are still in the loft. I was also given some cars by a friend of the family, who was about five years older than me. Thus I obtained some nice cars from the 1950s. My dad also made me a wooden petrol station for my cars. Some of you will remember a plastic petrol station, complete with a lift, which was available in toy shops. Mine was even better; it had a lift, petrol pumps, a ramp and a show room but all with more space than the plastic toy. I loved it. Does anybody remember Tonka Toys, or Matchbox Kingsize kit cars? All my Matchbox cars are still in a small suitcase, in the loft. Here is a video, taking you through the 1974 Dinky Toys catalogue

I mentioned the wooden garage, which my dad made. He also made a nice dolls house for my sister. She was two years younger than me. The dolls house front and back walls could be lifted off to reveal eight large rooms. Two were joined by an archway, a feature popular then on full-sized houses. There was plenty of miniature furniture available for a girl to buy with her pocket-money and some of it was exquisite but it was expensive. I think she quickly ran out of funds and the house was never fully furnished.

Suzy Homemaker Turquoise Toy Oven
Suzy Homemaker Turquoise Toy Oven

My sister was an ace at Marbles. Again, we were both blessed with fantastic marbles, inherited from a great aunt or uncle. These were Victorian antiques. Some were made of white glass with lovely red swirls but my favourite had no stripes or twists inside but was filled with tiny blue bubbles. Although we were given half each, my sister soon began to win all mine from me. We would play on the carpet, in the garden and in the school playground. Not only did she eventually win all mine but she soon started beating everyone at school. Her collection became enormous and I could only stare with envy at the standard sized marbles and the bigger ‘alleys’ and ‘half-alleys’. I remember you could buy marbles in the shop for a couple of shillings but they were never as nice as our antique ones. My sister also had a pink, plastic dog on wheels with pushing handles. It looked for all the world like a mini-pram from a distance. She also had a cuddly toy bear, which she called Poodly-Woodly. I would often hide it which upset her but I would always give in and tell her where it was in the end. Once, while on holiday in Sidmouth, Devon, I threw it out of the window, onto the hotel roof. She couldn’t find it for days. When I finally showed her where it was, she told my parents and they made me retrieve it! I don’t think I ever hid it again after this.

Of course my sister also had plenty of dolls and she had Tiny Tears – the doll that cried! You fed the baby water from a miniature bottle and then she would cry when you turned her over:

Tiny Tears baby doll
Tiny Tears baby doll

I probably became bored with Lego around the age of ten so my dad bought me a Meccano set. I think it was about Set 5. I didn’t really get on with it though. I tried to build a crane from the plans but as you progressed, the nuts from earlier components would become loose and you would have to go back and tighten them all. In the end, it was like a house of cards.

In about 1969 or possibly 1970, a new phenomenon appeared in the UK toy car scene, Hot Wheels. I immediately ordered a set from Santa but I was disappointed. While the track was flexible, the joiners were inexplicably made from brittle plastic and broke very quickly. Within weeks, the track was useless and in the UK at least, you could not buy joiner replacements. However, I got lucky. My next door neighbours had a Matchbox Superfast set. This was Matchbox’s answer to Hot Wheels and was virtually identical. The crucial difference was that the joiners were flexible. I was stuck with a load of Hot Wheels cars and no track. But the cars would run on Superfast track. So, after some negotiation, I managed to persuade them to part with it. The result was many happy days running amazing tracks down the stairs from the landing and out onto the porch. Below is a picture of Matchbox Superfast cars:

Matchbox Superfast cars
Matchbox Superfast cars

One novelty, I should mention was American remote-control cars. When I was about five, our next-door neighbours’ father regularly traveled to America. After one trip, he presented his two sons with these remote-controlled cars. I can’t be certain but I think one was a Cadillac. These were way ahead of what we had in the UK – positively futuristic. We didn’t have remote-control until about 1980, when I did finally get one. American toys always had a mystique for me after seeing these two cars in the 60s.

Hornby-Flying-Scotsman
Hornby Flying Scotsman train set

After cars, I progressed to trains. Horny and Tri-ang trains were the thing. In 1968 the two companies hadn’t yet merged. I saw the Tri-ang Princess class pacifics of a friend’s train set and I had to have one of my own. My dad chose the Hornby Flying Scotsman train set. It had a lovely big, green steam engine, a tender, three standard carriages, a Pullman carriage and about twenty feet of track. At first, I just laid it on the carpet but it was soon clear this was not a good idea; the cat couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the train every time it came around.
“You need a proper, permanent track base,” my dad told me.
‘Great!’ I thought. ‘Maybe the loft? Or all round the landing!’
The problem was that we lived in an ultra-modern chalet house. It had a long, sloping roof so the loft was tiny and only about four feet high at its highest point. The landing was no good either.
Imagine, then, my horror when my dad bought home something door-sized! I had to build my whole set on a door-sized fibreboard panel which measured three feet and six inches wide by six feet and six inches long! My dad fixed it to the wall at waist height, in the study, and left me to it. To this day, I don’t understand why he couldn’t give me a panel four feet wide. Just another six inches! The amount of heartache caused by the missing six inches! First of all, I needed a mainline set, two tracks, one inside the other, because the Flying Scotsman is a mainline train. But this made the inner curve about 18 inches radius. Hornby didn’t make curves this tight! Even the outer curve was hanging over the edge of the panel. My dad had to screw a two-inch wide strip to the side so that the track fitted and I could have a station platform. For the inner track, I had to buy flexi-track, which was very expensive.

My train set days were not to be the paradise I had envisioned. The motors never ran smoothly and consequently I was constantly oiling them and cleaning the track with ‘track cleaner’. The problem was so acute that I converted a coal wagon to carry the cleaner. But the solution was too expensive so I had to substitute it with thinners and white-spirit. Unfortunately, this made the plastic sleepers brittle and they would break off. I had an elaborate plan for the set I would build but I never finished it. I found that toy trains are bloody expensive!

Airfix Hawker Huricane kit
Airfix Hawker Huricane kit

After trains, I progressed to model aircraft. Aircraft would quickly become my greatest love, but at first, my experiences with models were frustrating. My dad first whispered of rubber-powered wooden models when was about seven. I didn’t understand what he was talking about but after he brought home an Airfix Hawker Sea Fury and built it for me, I could see the attraction of a model that could fly.

My father brought home a Keil Kraft, rubber-powered Hawker Hurricane. The box contained balsa wood parts for the whole airframe but they weren’t even pressed out, as later kit parts would be! The box clearly said ‘Ages 10 and above’ and I was 7! It was too much! I struggled for a few weeks before consigning the kit to its box. Its unclear whether it was my father’s ambition or my own that would plague my early aircraft building career but the trend continued. When I was ten, Airfix had just released the first two aircraft kits at 1/24 Scale, the Hurricane and Spitfire. These were huge. I never was so impressed by the Spitfire as others; I thought then and in fact still think that the Spitfire is a bit ugly. I wanted the Hurricane. I think it cost £7.49 which was a huge sum at the time but I remember carrying the enormous box proudly home. Again, I wasn’t really old enough to build this kit. I managed to build the thing but it took months and frayed my nerves.

Lone Star Deltic Diesel
Lone Star Deltic Diesel

Other toys I remember from the 60s include toy guns. Although I refuse to touch a real gun these days, I had two Western style pistols, one a long-handled black one with an imitation pearl handle and a shorter barreled one. I also had a Winchester rifle. All fired caps. I had a battery torch which had a green and a red filter for the lens. You could shine a normal beam or flip over the filter and then everything in the room would turn green or red. I had a Mamod steam roller and several traction engines of a different make. I had a plastic friction-drive Comet airliner, whose make I have tried, and failed, to discover (please let me know if you remember this and know what it is). Another curiosity, which my father brought home in shrink wrap pack, was a tiny, a Lone Star die-cast American diesel engine, along with some plastic track. It was just a push-along engine but later, I understand, the company used tiny electric motors. I loved it. but with about twelve inches of track and no carriages, it had limited play value. I had a Scalextric set, which was almost as old as me. I guess my dad must have bought it as soon as I was born! The cars were Grand Prix cars from the 1950s! I cannot omit mention of my finest toy; an Ever Ready London Underground set. My grandparents ran a combined Chemist and record shop in the 1960s and Ever Ready gave out 500 toy train sets of red, London Underground trains as a promotional gimmick. I inherited this. It wasn’t that much fun to play with because it only had a single circle of track but it looks great. It’s still in its box and the box is in good condition. When I last checked, one of these sets went at the auctioneer, Christies, for £500. That was ten years ago. If anybody else has one of these, let me know.

Keil Kraft Hawker Hurricane balsa wood kit
Keil Kraft Hawker Hurricane balsa wood kit

While I continued to work my way through the Airfix model aircraft range, my father moved me on to control-line aircraft. These were model aircraft whose control was by means of two steel wires which led from a handle, held by the owner. This system was much like the system used by aerobatic kites. The main difference was that these aircraft flew round you at speeds of up to 100 mph. For some reason, which is beyond my comprehension, my dad chose to buy me the fastest and most sensitive aerobatic model Keil Kraft made. It would be fair to say it was a competition only model. Not only that but the only model engine my dad could lend me was far too powerful. The result was a monster; far too fast for even the most expert control-line flyer to handle. When he powered it up for me in the field and let it go, it flew straight into the ground. And I mean, straight into the ground! I never had a chance. I was left with a bag of bits. Consequently, he bought me a smaller engine and we modified the design to make it a bit easier to handle. I rebuilt the model. It still didn’t last long but long enough to teach me the basics. I wanted more and progressed to a Focke Wulf 190 and eventually a Focke Wulf TA 152.
I ended up flying radio-controlled aircraft and even designing my own. My love of aircraft has never been quelled and that passion informs some of my thrillers, such as Attack Hitler’s Bunker! My love of technology led to me writing about Die Glocke (the Nazi Bell) in my subscription novel Rip.

List of toy cars that I can remember owning (most still in my parents’ loft):

Matchbox (List of Matchbox toys by year)

Matchbox Dodge recovery truck (green and white)
Matchbox Lamborghini Muira (gold)
Matchbox Lamborghini Marzal
Matchbox Lotus Europa (blue)
Matchbox 1968 Mercedes ambulance (white/cream)
Matchbox Mercedes Truck
Matchbox Ford Pickup (red)
Matchbox Refuse Truck (blue)
Matchbox Pipe Truck (red)
Matchbox GMC Refrigerator Truck (blue and red)
Matchbox Mercury Cougar (metallic green)
Matchbox Rolls Royce silver Shadow (Maroon)
Matchbox Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Coupe (gold)
Matchbox Ford Mercury Station Wagon (green)
Matchbox Iso Grifo (dark blue)
Matchbox (Ford Galaxie) Police Car
Matchbox BMC 1800 Pininfarina (gold)
Matchbox Ford GT40 (white)
Matchbox Refrigerator Truck
Matchbox 1953 Aveling Barford Road Roller
Matchbox Site Hut Truck (blue)
Matchbox Ferret Scout Car (green)
Matchbox Ford 3 Ton 4×4 Service Ambulance (green)
Matchbox Faun  8 Wheel Crane (green with red jib)
Matchbox Ford Group 6 racing car (green)
Matchbox Ford Kennel Truck
Matchbox Massey Ferguson Tractor & Trailer (red)
Matchbox Gruesome Twosome (1971 ) (orange)
Matchbox Lotus Super Seven (1971) (orange)
Matchbox Firetruck (US style)

Matchbox Models of Yesteryear

Matchbox (1968) 1928 Mercedes Benz 36/220
Matchbox 1909 Thomas Flyabout

Matchbox King Size

Matchbox King Size Racing Car Transporter (green)
Matchbox King Size Scammell Contractor Pipe Truck (yellow)
Matchbox King Size Esso Heavy Wreck Truck (white)
Matchbox King Size Ford Mercury Station Wagon (white)
Matchbox King Size Lamborghini Muira (red)
Matchbox King Size Allis-Chalmers Motor Scraper (yellow)

Corgi Toys (List of Corgi Toys by Year – incomplete list)

Corgi 1961 No.1120 Midland Red Motorway Express Coach
Corgi Bentley Continental Sports Saloon (cream and green)
Corgi 1962 No.235 Oldsmobile Super 88 Sheriff car (black and white)
Corgi 1962 No.235 Oldsmobile Super 88 saloon (repainted black)
Corgi 1964 No.245 Buick Riviera (with working trans o lite headlights) (light blue)
Corgi 1964 No.236 Austin A 60 Driving School Car
Corgi 1973 John Player Special Lotus 72 (black and gold)
Corgi MacLaren M19A racing car (orange and white)
Corgi 1960 No.226 Morris Mini-Minor (grey)
Corgi 1964 No.247 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman – working windscreen wipers (red)
Corgi 1965 No.249 Mini-Cooper De Luxe (known as the Wicker Mini)
Corgi 1965 No.248 Chevrolet Impala (repainted black)
Corgi 1965 No.248 Chevrolet Impala Police Patrol Car
Corgi 1968 No.266 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Corgi 1966 No.267 Batmobile with Figures of Batman + Robin
Corgi 1969 No.302 Hillman Hunter ‘London to Sydney’
Corgi 1970 No.301 Iso Grifo 7 litre (blue)
Corgi 1967 No.339 1967 Monte Carlo Mini-Cooper S (red)
Corgi 1960 No.417 Land Rover Breakdown Truck (red)
Corgi 1962 No.420 Ford Thames Airborne Caravan
Corgi 1963 No.441 Volkswagen Toblerone Van (with working trans o lite headlights) (light blue)
Corgi 1966 No.437 Cadillac Ambulance
Corgi 1962 No.437 Superior Ambulance on Cadillac Chassis (with working lights)
Corgi 1966 No.494 Bedford Tipper Truck
Corgi 1967 No.479 Commer Mobile Camera Van
Corgi 2 x 1961 No.1123 Chipperfield Circus Animal Cage
Corgi 1962 No.1130 Chipperfield’s Circus Horse Transporter
Corgi 1966 No.1138 Carrimore Car Transporter with Ford tilt Cab
Corgi 1966 No.440 Ford Consul Cortina estate

Husky/Corgi Junior

Corgi Guy Warrior Tanker
Corgi Junior Rocket Aston Martin DB6 (with key to remove chassis) (gold)

Dinky Toys

Dinky Toys Alpha Romeo racing car (red)
Dinky Toys Ferrari racing car (red)
Dinky Toys Talbot Lago racing car (blue)
Dinky Toys Mercedes Benz streamlined racing car (silver)
Dinky Toys Masarati racing car (red and white)
Dinky Toys Mini Monte Carlo Rally
Dink Toys Ferrari 312 (of much later year ) (red and white)
Dinky Toys Sunbeam Rapier Mk1
Dinky Toys Austin Van, ‘Raleigh Cycles’
Dinky Toys Four Berth Caravan (blue and white)
Dinky Toys Four Berth Caravan (yellow with transparent roof)
Dinky Toys Foden Diesel 8 wheel Wagon Flat Bed  with chains (but mine are missing) (red)
Dinky Toys Pontiac Parisienne (red)
Dinky Toys Cadillac Eldorado (purple)
Dinky Toys Ford Cortina Mk1 East African rally car (white)
Dinky Toys MGB Sports Car
Dinky Toys Humber Hawk Police
Dinky Toys Aveling-Barford Diesel Roller (green)
Dinky Toys  Police Accident Unit Presentation Set (Ford Transit) (white)
Dinky Toys  Police Accident Unit Presentation Set (Ford Mini Cooper S) (white)
Dinky Toys  Police Accident Unit Presentation Set (Ford Zodiac) (white)
Dinky Toys  Land Rover (dark green) with plastic, removable tarpaulin
Dinky Toys Shado 2 Mobile (dark green)
Dinky Toys Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle – SPV – from Captain Scarlet  (Blue)
Dinky Toys AEC Fuel Tanker (white)
Dinky Toys Chieftain Tank
Dinky Toys Honest John Missile Launcher
Dinky Toys D.H Comet Airliner
Dinky Toys F4 Phantom
Dinky Toys SEPECAT Jaguar

Dinky Kits (die cast – build it yourself kits) – 1974

Dinky Mercedes 600 Pullman
Dinky Ferrari 312

Hot Wheels

Beatnik Bandit (Purple)

Budgie

Budgie Leyland Hippo Cattle Truck
Budgie Toys Euclid Mammoth Articulated Dumper

Britains

JCB Excavator 5C 1970S

Nacoral

Rolls Royce Silver Cloud  (die cast) (silver) in presentation case

Polisti

Fiat 125 Abarth Rally Car (complete with mud spatters – beige)

Triang Hi-Way

Large Tipper Truck (green cab, red tipper)

Triang

Pressed Steel (Yellow ) Wild-life Safari Land Rover

(Possibly – Manufacturer Uncertain)

Ichico VW T-1 Transporter (Police van)
Scalecraft Centurion Tank (motorised)
Scalecraft Traction Engine (motorised)
Bandai Traction Engine

Gama Mini Mod

#955 Volkswagen Bus blue

Let me know what toys you had in the 1960s? Leave a comment below.

Download three free eBooks by clicking here: http://bit.ly/3fbsup

What are your memories of toys in the 1960s?